EF News

Optimism Remains High Amongst North East Business Owners Despite Lengthened Sales Cycles

The most recent Entrepreneurs’ Forum Quarterly Members Pulse Survey has revealed that entrepreneurial optimism remains high despite reports of elongation of the sales cycle.  

Of the 104 business owners who responded to the survey, which was conducted by Explain Market Research, 83% are optimistic or very optimistic about business performance for the year ahead. 
This high level of optimism can be attributed to entrepreneurs anticipating increased turnover, with three quarters of respondents expecting their turnover to increase over the next 12 months. 

However, the number of respondents expecting turnover to grow by over 20% has declined compared to the November 2023 Pulse Survey, with 29% expecting high growth compared to 41% of respondents last quarter. 
Factors which are limiting business growth includes the elongation of the sales cycle, with members citing that deals are taking longer to close due to complex processes. 
Other members highlighted increased competition in their sector, especially from companies outside the UK, leading to a squeeze on prices. As well as this, some identified wider economic pressures leading to sales challenges, with companies being reluctant to invest and budgets squeezes. 


For the first time, the Pulse Survey also focused on member’s equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) efforts which revealed a staggering 78% of respondents already have implemented firmwide EDI policies. A further 54% have taken action in the last 12 months to educate themselves personally on EDI. 

Elaine Stroud, CEO of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, commented: “With member businesses generating revenues in excess of £1.25 billion our survey results provide a strong insight into sentiment across the North East.  

“The results presented by our latest survey confirm entrepreneurs remain optimistic about the year ahead despite challenges around the sales cycle and skills shortages. 

“Yet amidst these hurdles, the commitment from our members to fostering equality, diversity, and inclusion stands out, reflecting not just a dedication to business success, but to creating organisations that the North East can be proud of.” 

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum was founded in 2002 and represents over 340 North East entrepreneurs. 

Its partners include Agilico, Blu Sky, Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, LDC, Northumbria University, RBC Brewin Dolphin and Ward Hadaway. 

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